Monday, February 3, 2014

LOTR Read-Along: The White Rider (TTT Ch. 5)

And so Gandalf returns, Tolkien melding the scenes of Christ's Resurrection and Transfiguration into one, as a returned-from-the-dead Gandalf appears to his disciples in shining white robes with eyes "piercing as the rays of the sun."  This is the only place where the book that is "neither allegorical nor topical" (p. xvi) gets a bit heavy-handed with the religious imagery (even more so than in "In the House of Tom Bombadil") -- and I don't mind it a bit!  Unlike with all the confusion Tom Bombadil gives me, Gandalf looks clearly like a Christ-figure to me, and I'm cool with that.  

So... Gandalf is back, we're all going to Edoras, hooray!


Favorite Lines:

"That would not baffle a Ranger," said Gimli.  "A bent blade is enough for Aragorn to read" (p. 477).

"Few can foresee whither their road will lead them, till they come to its end" (p. 481).

"It was not in vain that the young hobbits came with us, if only for Boromir's sake" (p. 485).

"A thing is about to happen which has not happened since the Elder Days:  the Ents are going to wake up and find that they are strong" (p. 488).

"Go where you must go, and hope!" (p. 489).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Gandalf says of Sauron:  "That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind" (p. 485-6).  Does that ever seem a little convenient to you?  That Sauron hasn't even considered that they might all want to be totally free?

Also... Aragorn does become king over pretty much all the world, so while he's not exactly taking Sauron's place, they haven't exactly formed an autonomous collective, have they?

15 comments:

  1. I also really don't mind the religious imagery in this part. I find the way the return of Gandalf is described very inspiring.

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    1. I forgot to mention how I always have to grin when he remembers that "Gandalf" was his name before, and tells them they may call him that again. I'm not sure why that amuses me, other than I sometimes wonder what he might rather have been called this time around. Arthur?

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    2. He probably has some complicated Maian name as well. And even Tolkien uses 9 different names for him in his works (I don't know that by heart, I just saw it on Wikipedia ;-)

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    3. Well, I can think of a few. Okay, I can think of one: Mithrandir. He also gets called Gandalf Greyhame, Lathspell, and Gandalf Stormcrow, but those seem like nicknames or descriptors, not actually names. Same for The White Rider.

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    4. Very good ;-) But the Eldar also had a name for him, can you think of that?

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    5. Nope, don't remember that at all. Must be in the appendices, which I've read only once?

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    6. The Silmarillion even. I don't believe you've read that one?

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  2. No, no, no. Later on in TTT, there is a passage in which Faramir quotes Gandalf and lists several names Gandalf has. There's quite a few, though it's five not nine. (I'm not sure what the other four are!) Anyway, here's the quote: "Many are my names in many countries. Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkun to the Dwarves, Olorin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Incanus, in the North Gandalf; to the East, I go not."
    -- Marcy

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    1. Marcy, what are you no-no-no-ing? I'm a little confused. Maybe this comment got attached to the wrong post?

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    2. My mistake. I was rather tired when posting this and not thinking particularly straight. What I meant was that Gandalf's names are in the book and not in an appendix, but starting off with no-no-no was not the best way of saying that. I'm sorry.
      -- Marcy

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    3. Aha! And I just realized you're referring to something in the comments, not my actual post. This makes more sense now :-)

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    4. Yes, I meant to reply to the comments, but I don't think I'd figured out how to reply to a comment instead of the post yet. :)
      -- Marcy

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